Subscribe to Newsletter
Subspecialties Retina, Imaging & Diagnostics

The H Factor

Researchers have found increased levels of complement factor H-related Protein 4 (FHR-4) in plasma and serum samples of 484 late AMD patients (characterized by geographic atrophy and/or choroidal neovascularization) compared with 522 phenotype controls (1). Further, the research team – based out of Cardiff University, Queen Mary University of London, the University of Manchester, and Radboud University Medical Center – found FHR-4 present in the AMD-affected parts of the eye.

To discover whether increased levels of FHR-4 were a cause or consequence of AMD, the team turned to genetics. The genes coding for factor H, FHR-4 and other FH-family proteins are typically found in a tight cluster on chromosome 1. A genome-wide association study revealed that variants in this gene cluster have the biggest effect on FHR-4 levels, overlapping with other chromosome 1 variants that determine a well-established 20-year-old genetic risk of AMD. The team’s findings suggest that genetically determined increases in blood FHR-4 levels lead to more FHR-4 in the eye, which in turn increase the risk of the uncontrolled complement activation that drives the disease. The team hopes its findings will provide a new route to treatment by restoring complement control in the eye.


Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Ophthalmologist and its sponsors.

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

  1. V Cipriani et al., Nature, 11, 778 (2020). PMID: 32034129.
About the Author
Phoebe Harkin

Associate Editor of The Ophthalmologist

I’ve always loved telling stories. So much so, I decided to make a job of it. I finished a Masters in Magazine Journalism and spent three years working as a creative copywriter before itchy feet sent me (back)packing. It took seven months and 13 countries, but I’m now happily settled on The Ophthalmologist, where I’m busy getting stuck into all things eyeballs.

Related Product Profiles
Uncover the Unique DNA of SPECTRALIS®

| Contributed by Heidelberg Engineering

Subspecialties Retina
ForeseeHome® – remote monitoring to help detect wet AMD earlier and improve outcomes

| Contributed by Notal Vision

Product Profiles

Access our product directory to see the latest products and services from our industry partners

Most Popular
Register to The Ophthalmologist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Ophthalmologist magazine



The Ophthalmologist website is intended solely for the eyes of healthcare professionals. Please confirm below: